Week 28 – PART 2 – Learning Activity – Focusing on Design With a Conscience –

Week 28 – PART 2 – Learning Activity – Focusing on Design With a Conscience –
Theoretical Assignment (3h)
Focusing on design with a conscience                        

Sheppard Fairey

“Frank Shepard Fairey is an American contemporary graphic designer and illustrator who emerged from the skateboarding scene. He first became known for his ‘Andre the Giant Has a Posse’” (…OBEY…) (www.obeygiant.com) sticker campaign, in which he appropriated images from the comedic supermarket tabloid Weekly World News. 
Andre the Giant has a Posse

His work became more widely known in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, specifically his Barack Obama “Hope” poster. 
Barack Obama Hope

The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston calls him one of today’s best known and most influential street artists. His work is included in the collections at The Smithsonian, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Analyse his poster for the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election and give your opinion on the use of styleand its efficacy. Also critique the use of pastiche and typography
Write one page (about 350 words) on your opinion of this design and substantiate your answers with examples.


The Obama poster “Hope”, earlier “Progress”, was made by the famous street artist Frank Shepard Fairey in 2008. The poster is a mixed-media stenciled portrait  

The poster of Obama by Frank Shepard Fairey is striking, but, I have seen similar design before. The style of the poster really has a resemblance to the famous Che Guevara poster by Jim Fitzpatrick that was made in 1968. 


This again leads to the “Obey” poster by Frank Shepard Fairey, that again probably has inspired, or been inspired by another street artist like Banksy, they once have worked together on a project, The warehouse exhibition in Alexandria, Sydney, for Semi-Permanent in 2003. 

OBEY ICON Signed Poster

The font that is used in the poster of Obama is a Sans-Serif font, that again is something you see clearly in Swiss Design Style. The message of the poster is clear, and has a big impact.  

Swiss Design Style often limits numbers of colors, and you can also see that in the Obama poster that uses only three main colors, while the blue has a total of three different shades, and the red and yellow stays the same. The colors resemble those of the American flag but has been toned down. Maybe to give the poster a calmer, warmer and friendlier feel.  

Like the Swiss style, he has played with a photograph of Obama in the poster. You can also see some resemblance of Andy Warhol and his Marilyn Monroe works, and even those of our own Queen Sonja, the style is the same in the Obama poster. 


The poster is a political message, clearly stating the designer’s political views. The designer would not have made this poster with that word, if he didn’t think that Obama as president would give some kind of hope to future. Frank also have used other words like “Progress” in some versions of the Obama poster. 

Frank was inspired by social realism when he designed the Obama poster, and he was also inspired by the famous photograph of JFK from 1961, when he looks slightly upwards and to the right.

File:John F. Kennedy, White House photo portrait, looking up.jpg


The Wikipedia article about Fairey states that “Fairey has said that his decision to create a portrait of Obama stemmed from Fairey’s feeling that Obama’s “power and sincerity as a speaker would create a positive association with his likeness.”